Hip-Hop

Gift of Gab's Death Mourned by Chief Xcel, Questlove, El-P, Chuck D & More

Gift of Gab, Blackalicious
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Gift of Gab of Blackalicious performs as part of the Rock the Bells Tour 2008 at Shoreline Amphitheatre Aug. 16, 2008 in Mountain View, Calif.

Questlove, Run the Jewels' El-P, Public Enemy's Chuck D and more are mourning Timothy "Gift of Gab" Parker of hip-hop duo Blackalicious, who died June 18 at age 50.

"Tim peacefully departed this earth to be with our ancestors on Friday, June 18, 2021," the Quannum collective, a group that the Bay Area rapper belonged to, said in a statement Friday (June 25). "He is survived by two brothers, one sister, many nieces and nephews, countless friends, and fans across the globe."

Parker reportedly died of natural causes and had previously been battling kidney-related complications. He was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2012 and suffered kidney failure due to Type 1 Diabetes. By 2015, he was on dialysis three times a week. Still, he managed to continue songwriting during his four-hour sessions.

His longtime collaborator and friend Chief Xcel -- who is the other half of Blackalicious -- shared an emotional post on Gab's Instagram. The pair met as teenagers. During their time in high school together, they would jokingly argue about "who was doper" between Ice-T and Too Short. Chief Xcel says they had dreams of becoming Sacramento's "version of Run-DMC."

He recalls of his late friend Parker, who went by the stage name "Tiny T" in high school, "Out of the blue, Tim who had now changed his rap name to Gabby T, calls me and says ,'Yo X, I need a DJ.' So I’m thinking he’s asking me to DJ for him for a talent show or school dance so I say, 'For when?'  Tim then replies 'Forever' and I say 'Cool.' That day marked the beginning of our journey. 34 years of brotherhood, deep friendship, artistic inspiration, and musical exploration."

His niece and E! Nightly Pop host Nina Parker described him as a "visionary" in her touching tweet, where she thanked those who've sent their own loving remarks. "My family loves and misses him dearly and we appreciate all the love being shown," she wrote. "He will be missed. Forever a visionary." She later shared old photos of Gift of Gab on her Instagram Story, writing, "My uncle was a legend. We will love you forever."

See other reactions and tributes to Gift of Gab below.